MCKEESPORT, Pa. — In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Penn State Greater Allegheny takes this seriously, as does its community partners. Partnerships play a crucial role in growing and The Pittsburgh Foundation recently recognized the collaborative work Penn State Greater Allegheny is doing to address racism in the region.
The campus, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $25,000 grant through the foundation’s organizing principle, 100 Percent Pittsburgh. The campaign focuses on helping 30 percent of the Pittsburgh population impacted by persistent barriers. The grant will fund Greater Allegheny’s signature program, the Crossing Bridges Summit, which encourages students, faculty and staff to engage with community members to address racial divides in the Mon Valley region.
“I am so pleased that The Pittsburgh Foundation is providing support for the work we are doing to bridge racial divides in the region,” said Jacqueline Edmondson, Penn State Greater Allegheny chancellor and chief academic officer. “The goals of The Pittsburgh Foundation align with the values of our campus as we work to foster respect, dignity and inclusiveness.”
This grant will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.
Through the summit, the campus reaches out to neighboring communities to help better understand issues and educational opportunities. The campus seeks to be a catalyst for social change.
The Summit's infrastructure consists of four pillars: Speaker Series, Summit Talks, Unity Talks and Visiting Scholar Series.
The Speaker Series brings prominent figures to campus who offer different perspectives on questions of race and racism in the United States and the Mon Valley.
Past Summit Speakers have featured scholar Michael Eric Dyson (Fall 2017), McKeesport-native Brandon Short (Spring 2018) and most recently activist Angela Davis (Fall 2018).
After the speaker event, the Summit Talks begin. Faculty, staff, students and community members are invited to join panelists and discussion leaders in conversations about major points the speaker shared during his or her presentation.
Following the Summit Talks, student-led, campus-based discussions (Unity Talks) commence focusing on topics that emerge from student dialogue about race and racism.
The final pillar, the Visiting Scholar Series, brings intellectuals, artists, activists and others to campus for a year-long engagement with students, faculty, staff and community members.
Thomas G. Poole, the first visiting scholar, is a civil rights expert who has worked extensively in educational equity. Poole will help to lead the summit programs, assist the campus in developing a framework to foster diversity, and lead faculty and staff professional development related to race and race relations.
Penn State Greater Allegheny’s next Crossing Bridges Summit is slated for April 5. The Summit speaker will be Vanessa German, an artist and activist from the Homewood neighborhood in Pittsburgh.
For more information about the Crossing Bridges Summit, please contact Zack Rosen, public relations specialist, at [email protected] or 412-675-9451.